And it's the summer tour. What a great show from a year that gets overlooked, unjustly I might add. Dave Gans recently played this show on the GD Hour, and I've been a fan ever since.
First of all - this is not 1974, or even 1977. This is 1988. But if you can let go of your pre-conceived expectations, and get back to your Zen "Beginner's Mind" - you're gonna love this show.
Getting all the SBD's for 1988 has been a real delight for me - so many hidden Easter egg gems of shows that I would have never sought out to collect before.
The Greek of course, is always special. And tonight, from the first note, the X factor is there. The magic, the unspeakable, ineffable something that makes the music more than just playing the notes. It's here tonight.
Not a weak moment (or a bad Brent song) to spoil the first set. The Let it Grow closer is inspired. Garcia never runs out of ideas, and the sound quality again, is just stunning here.
An excellent, and I mean excellent vocal by Phil kicks off Set Two with Box of Rain. No Bobby harmony? Or was his mike off? Just Jerry and Phil doing a duet - interesting. Victim is full of pathos and dark mystery, with searing guitar lines from Jerry. Things are getting melty and floaty already. Then the notes of Crazy Fingers begin to bubble through your brain. Nice etherial keyboard from Brent. Garcia's solo soars like a hawk, bends like Gumby and sizzles like a sparkler. Crazy winds down into a carousel of spinning colors and changing images, waterfalls of notes - before morphing into PLayin. Not a long version sadly, but wow what they pack into 6 minutes! Swirling keyboards from Brent, trippy dancing Wah from Jerry - hold onto your brain!!
The Uncle John's has 1970 spirit, has the touch. It has the myth, it has the soul of the song tonight. The right mix of darkness and joy that this song requires.
Space is, well, a mix. Begins with some straight unfiltered guitar solo from Jerry, then quickly gets weirder than sheet, when the midis kick in about 3:00
in. Let me put it this way - it's kinda like having your brain sucked from speaker to speaker, left to right, like one of those old Road Runner cartoons. By 6:00, you can feel your eyeballs becoming One. Great Space if you like this part, and have some shrooms!!
Post-Space kicks off with - not a bad Brent song - but surprise! A hot GDTR from Jerry. A good sign, and whew!- they FLY down the road on this version (see also 3/27/88). Great B3 work from Brent here.
Then Garcia blows the roof off with a blistering version of Watchtower. Plenty of Phil here too.
And then - the real reason I fell in love with this show. The Believe it Or Not. Suddenly - it's a Jerry Garcia Band show. Jerry delivers a soul-wrenching rendition of this all-too-rare song. You can almost hear Merle and the backup girls here. It's all Jerry's show now - "I've done time on the upswing, done time in defeat. Making music together, in a world time forgot. Let me show how I love you, believe it or not."
gotta pause here - something in my eye.
The rest is all, well, like rolling down the Interstate hwy at 80 mph in a convertable with Hunter S. Thompson at the wheel, with this show blasting out of the stereo. NFA is a fire-breathing dragon. And the Blackbird>Brokedown encore - how rare and how perfect to close this last night at the Greek.
Maybe one of my top ten for 1988, maybe not we'll see. But this show leaves you wanting nothing, except more 1988!! Definitely one to add to your collection. And did I mention how good the sound is?? Ha ha.
Dr. Flashback :-)